US 7575275 B2
A seat cushion includes a cushioned bottom portion and a back portion. The back portion is flexibly connected to the bottom portion. An attachment mechanism is provided to attach the bottom portion to a bleacher. A constraint element restrains the back portion for rotating beyond a desired angle with respect to the cushioned bottom portion. The back portion does not include any rigid cross members.
1. An attachment bracket for attaching a seat cushion to a bleacher seat, the attachment bracket comprising:
a front jaw, said front jaw including a front hook portion, a long horizontal leg extending from said hook portion to a distance away from the front hook portion, and a generally upwardly extending rear leg;
a rear jaw, said rear jaw including a generally upwardly extending leg in close proximity to said generally upwardly extending rear leg of said front jaw;
a tightening member for drawing said generally upwardly extending legs together to secure said jaws;
an aperture located in said generally upwardly extending rear leg of said front jaw;
a seat cushion, said seat cushion connected to a backrest;
said backrest having a front portion and back portion;
a loop connected to said back portion of said backrest;
wherein said loop on said back portion of said backrest connects to said aperture by a removable fastener, said loop receiving one portion of said removable fastener and said aperture receiving another portion of said removable fastener.
2. The attachment bracket of
3. The attachment bracket of
said seat cushion including a top surface and a bottom surface;
a loop attached to said bottom surface of said seat cushion;
wherein said long horizontal leg of said front jaw is adapted to engage said loop on said bottom surface of said seat cushion.
4. The attachment bracket of
said seat cushion including a top surface and a bottom surface;
a loop attached to said bottom surface of said seat cushion, wherein said long horizontal leg of said front jaw is adapted to engage said loop on said bottom surface of said seat cushion.
5. The attachment bracket of
said seat cushion including a top surface and a bottom surface;
a belt attached to said bottom surface of said seat cushion, said belt further comprising a loop;
wherein said long horizontal leg of said front jaw is adapted to engage said loop of said belt on said bottom surface of said seat cushion.
6. The seat cushion of
a bottom cushioned portion adapted to set on an upwardly facing surface of a bleacher, the bottom cushioned portion having a bottom surface for resting on the bleacher;
an attachment member connected to the bottom surface of the bottom cushioned portion having a receiving portion adapted to removably receive said attachment bracket above the upwardly facing surface of the bleacher for securing the bottom cushioned portion to a bleacher; and
a flexible constraint element connecting said bottom cushioned portion to said backrest.
7. The seat cushion of
said seat cushion comprises a seat pad enclosed by a seat covering;
said backrest comprises a backrest pad enclosed by a backrest covering; and
said backrest covering and said seat covering are formed from a single piece of covering material, such that said single piece of covering material flexibly connects said back portion to said bottom cushioned portion.
8. The backrest of
a pair of laterally spaced apart risers;
a central cushioned portion between said risers; and
a backrest cover covering and binding together said risers and said central cushioned portion, said backrest cover further acting as a flexible connection between said backrest and said seat cushion.
This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/846,136, filed May 14, 2004, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/348,785, filed on Jan. 22, 2003, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,739,667; and a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/890,818, filed Jul. 14, 2004, which is a continuation-in-part of the '136 application; and a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/046,366, filed Jan. 28, 2005, which is a continuation of the '136 application; the contents all of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
The present invention relates to seat cushions. More specifically, the present invention relates to cushions that are attachable to or usable with stadium seating, such as bleachers.
Bleacher-type seating is often provided for spectator events such as sporting events, concerts, and the like. Such seating is often provided in a permanent setting, such as a stadium, a semi-permanent setting, such as retractable bleachers in a gymnasium, or on a temporary basis for specific events. Bleachers provide simple, efficient and convenient seating for a large number of spectators; however, bleachers do not necessarily provide the most comfortable seating nor do they typically identify an individual seating location.
To improve the comfort of such seating, patrons sometimes bring their own seats or cushions. While an improvement in comfort, such a solution requires the patron to remember to bring their own device, which is often an afterthought and/or a very easily overlooked consideration when attending an otherwise exciting event. In addition, having spectators hauling their own chairs or cushion into a stadium seating arrangement can be inconvenient and possibly even dangerous to other spectators. That is, walkways are narrow and space is extremely limited so carrying extra items (especially if large, bulky or cumbersome) presents a challenge.
Thus, there exists a need to balance the conveniences and mass seating offered through stadium or bleacher seating with a degree of personal comfort.
The present invention, according to one embodiment, is a removable seat cushion for attachment to a base portion that includes an upwardly facing support surface. The seat portion includes a bottom cushioned portion adapted to set on the upwardly facing surface to provide a padded seat bottom. An attachment mechanism is provided for attaching the bottom cushioned portion to the base portion. A backrest portion is flexibly connected to the bottom cushioned portion such that the backrest portion will rotate in a generally vertical plane when the bottom cushioned portion is attached to the base portion. A flexible constraint element is attached at a first end to the bottom cushioned portion and at a second end to the backrest portion for restraining the backrest portion from rotating beyond a desired angle with respect to the bottom cushioned portion. Optionally, the flexible constraint element may be an adjustable strap, or a pair of adjustable straps. The attachment mechanism may include a loop on a bottom surface of the bottom cushioned portion which engages a bracket that is adapted to fasten to the base portion. The bracket may include a pair of jaws to engage the bleacher seat. The backrest may be free from any rigid cross members.
According to another embodiment, the present invention is an attachment bracket for attaching a seat cushion to a bleacher seat. The bracket includes a front jaw with a front hook portion for engaging a front portion of a bleacher seat, a long horizontal leg extending from the hook portion to a location near a rear portion of the bleacher seat when the front jaw is in engagement with the front portion of the bleacher seat, and a generally upwardly extending rear leg. A rear jaw is provided for engaging a rear portion of the bleacher seat. The rear jaw includes a generally upwardly extending leg in close proximity to the generally upwardly extending rear leg of the front jaw. A tightening member draws the generally upwardly extending legs together to secure the jaws to the bleacher seat.
While multiple embodiments are disclosed, still other embodiments of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, which shows and describes illustrative embodiments of the invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of modifications in various obvious aspects, all without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the drawings and detailed description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not restrictive. The use of descriptive terms such as up, down, vertical and horizontal are for illustrative purposes only, are not meant to be limiting, and are used by way of example with respect to the illustrations presented.
The cushions of the present invention, according to one embodiment, can be used is to provide designated, comfortable seating to select patrons in a stadium seating arrangement. For example, the stadium may rent the present stadium cushions to any patron who so chooses. In such a scenario, stadium personnel would most likely secure all of the stadium cushions to the bleachers in the appropriate locations before the arrival of the patrons. This provides many advantages. For example, it can provide a source of advertising, by allowing printed matter to be prominently displayed on the stadium cushions awaiting the arrival of patrons. It also allows a particular space or seating location to be physically identified and/or reserved for a particular patron.
Alternatively, the cushions of the present invention are quickly attachable and detachable from the stadium seating such that a patron could bring the cushion to the stadium, attach it to the patron's seat, and remove the cushion from the stadium when the patron leaves at the end of the event.
The stadium chair 10 rests on the upper seating surface 14 and is secured to both the front face 18 and rear face 20 of the bleacher. The particular configuration of the bleacher 12 may affect which particular securement members (described more fully below) should be used.
The frame 26 includes a first horizontal member 36 and a second horizontal member 38 which rest atop the upper seating surface 14 when the stadium chair 10 is positioned as illustrated. The horizontal members 36, 38 define a seat portion 34 of the frame 26. Depending from the horizontal members 36, 38 and extending upwards (as illustrated) is a back portion 32 of the frame 26 that is defined by a first upright member 40 and a second upright member 42. The first and second upright members 40, 42 are optionally interconnected by an upright cross member 60. The upper section of back portion 32 may be angled backwards or away from bleacher 12. This provides a more comfortable seat back for patrons by preventing the upper corners from engaging the back of the patron. In addition, the angled portion aides in securing a backrest 28 to the frame 26. That is, backrest 28 is a flexible member having an interior cavity allowing the backrest 28 to be slipped over the back portion 32. The angle can increase the tension of the backrest 28, making it more secure. In addition, clips (not shown) or other attachment members can be used to temporarily or permanently secure the backrest 28 to the frame 26.
A seat cushion 30 is placed atop the seat portion 34 of frame 26. The seat cushion 30 provides a comfortable seating surface for the patron. The cushion 30 and backrest 28 can be made from any appropriate material such as vinyl, plastic, or the like. If exposed to the environment, the material chosen preferably is suitably durable and/or weather resistant. The cushion 30 and/or the backrest 28 can include a desired amount of padding or cushioning to achieve a desired size, shape and degree of comfort.
In use, the frame 26 is positioned so that the first and second generally U-shaped brackets 46, 48 loop over the front face 18 of the bleacher 12. The shape of the generally U-shaped brackets 46, 48 and the overall rigidity of the frame 26 thus prevent the stadium chair 10 from tipping either forwards or backwards. An attachment bracket 44 is positioned on the back portion 32 of the frame 26, between the first and second uprights 40, 42. The attachment bracket 44 provides additional strength and rigidity to the overall frame assembly. An L-shaped attachment clamp 62 is releasably secured to the attachment bracket 44 and is positioned so that a portion thereof is below the bleacher 12, in contact with lower surface 16, as shown in
The attachment bracket 44 is provided with one or more threaded throughbores 78, 80, 82. If multiple clamps 62 are to be attached they may be balanced by utilizing left and right threaded throughbores 80, 82. If only one clamp 62 is to be used, it may normally be secured to central threaded throughbore 78 or alternatively to any throughbore that is unobstructed. That is, the seat 10 may be positioned as desired and the multiple throughbores 78, 80, 82 provide for multiple attachment points. Thus, if one or more attachment points is obscured or occluded by an obstruction (e.g., a frame member of the bleacher 12), it is a simple matter to utilize one of the other unobstructed attachment points. Fewer threaded throughbores may be provided, more may be provided, and different configurations could also be utilized as desired.
By utilizing an attachment bracket 44, frame 26 can be made as a relatively simple and straightforward component. That is, the frame 26 can be easily and readily produced as can the attachment bracket 44. These two components can be quickly and easily joined to produce a complete frame assembly.
In a particularly efficient arrangement, one of the clamps 62 could be loosely attached to each of the chairs 10 prior to installation on the bleachers. Thus, the installer could position the chair 10, pivot the clamp into place, tighten the bolt 84 with a wrench or the like and the chair 10 is installed. When installing hundreds or even thousands of chairs at one time, this efficiency is well placed. Alternatively, various other known attachment mechanisms could be used to secure the clamp 62 to the attachment bracket 44. For example, as shown in
As mentioned above, some bleachers 14 may have lips 24 and recesses 22 (
With the use of either type of clamp 62, 86 the attachment of the stadium chair 10 to the bleacher 12 is a relatively quick and easy process that results in semi-permanent attachment. That is, the seat cannot be readily removed by a patron (without the aid of a tool such as a wrench). This serves to protect the chairs 10, reduce vandalism, reduce accidental damage, and prevent theft. Also, the chairs (if left over time) need only be positioned once.
In furtherance of many of these same goals, it may be desirable to secure the seat cushion 30 to the frame 26.
The backed bleacher stadium seat 110 includes a seat cushion 112 which rests on the bleacher seat 100 to provide cushioned comfort to the patron. A back cushion 114 is connected to the seat cushion 112 by one or more flexible members. As illustrated, a first connecting strap 116 and a second connecting strap 118 act as the flexible member in this embodiment.
The back cushion 114 includes a front surface 120 and an opposing rear surface 122 that is proximal the bleacher back 104. A back cushion bracket 124 securely couples the back cushion 114 to the bleacher back support 106. One such bracket 124 is illustrated and is sufficient for attachment; however, more than one bracket 124 (e.g., spacing two such brackets on opposite ends) may also be utilized to attach the back cushion 114. As the seat cushion 112 is coupled to the back cushion 114, the seat cushion is likewise retained proximate to the bleacher 105, though having some degree of permissible movement.
The backed bleacher stadium seat 110 can be attached to most any backed bleacher 105 to provide cushioned comfort for seating and for back support. As disclosed above, the stadium seat 110 could also be semi-permanently attached to the bleacher seat 105 by virtue of the bracket 124.
A back cushion bracket 124 includes substantially C-shaped bracket having a strap loop 132 at one end and a threaded throughbore 135 at the other end for receiving a locking bolt 134. The bracket 124 is placed over the top portion of the bleacher back 104 (
In addition to using the stadium seat 110 on a backed bleacher, the seat 110 may also be used on a club seat. Club seats are often provided in stadiums and have a seat portion and a back portion forming a chair. The seat portion often folds upwards towards the back portion to allow more space in an aisle. The use of the stadium seat 110 on a club seat is substantially similar to the use described above. In addition, the seat cushion 112 may be provided with a strap (not separately shown) that is substantially similar to the attachment strap 130 provided on the back cushion 114 (
The back cushion 222 has a seat back attachment element 226. According to one embodiment, the seat back attachment element 226 is a stretchable strap that stretches along the back side of the back cushion 222 and is connected at each end 228 to the cushion 222. Alternatively, the seat back attachment element can be any known device for attaching the seat cushion 222 to the seat back 204.
The back cushion 222 also has support attachment elements 230. According to one embodiment, the support attachment elements 230 are adjustable plastic loops that are connected to the back cushion 222 on opposing sides of the back cushion 222. In one embodiment, the support attachment elements 230 are similar to zip ties. Alternatively, the support attachment elements 230 are any known devices for attaching the back cushion to the back support elements 208.
In use, the stadium cushion 200 is configured to be used with several types of stadium seating. That is, the stadium cushion 200 can be attached to a bleacher seat with separate seat backs as shown in
In addition, the stadium cushion 200 according to one embodiment can be further attached to a stadium seat via the support attachment elements 230. Each element 230 can be attached to a back support element 208 as shown in
Further, the stadium cushion 200 according to one aspect of the present invention is further attached to the stadium seat using the seat attachment element 240 as shown in
Alternatively, the stadium cushion 200 could also be attached to any club seat as described herein. In a further alternative, the stadium cushion 200 is intended to be attachable to several other types of stadium seating.
Shown generally in the drawings is an additional alternative embodiment of a seat cushion 310 that is suitable for attachment to a bleacher 312 (shown in phantom lines), or other similar base portion. As will be seen in the drawings and following description, the seat cushion 310 is adapted for quick and convenient attachment to a bleacher 312 in a semi-permanent fashion to provide a comfortable seat that provides padding and back support for a user.
The bottom portion 314 is a padded cushion. It may include a covering 320 surrounding and protecting a pad 322 (not visible in
The back portion 316 includes a central cushioned portion 324 between two riser portions 326. The central cushioned portion 324 is formed similarly to the bottom portion 314 described above. It has a covering 320 around a pad 322 (not shown in
A gusset 328 is provided near the top of each riser 326. This gusset 328 serves as an attachment point for a flexible belt 318. A similar triangular gusset 330 is provided near the front of the bottom portion 314, and serves as an attachment and reinforcement point for the flexible belt 318 to the bottom portion 314. The gussets 328 and 330 are preferably made of a strong, flexible material similar to the covering 320. They may be attached to the covering 320 of their respective cushioned portions 314 and 316 by sewing, riveting, adhesive or other fastening mechanisms known to those of skill in the art. Alternatively, the gussets 328 and 330 may be formed from the same piece of material as their respective coverings. The lower gusset 330 is provided with an eyelet 332, which is preferably in the form of a reinforced grommet made of metal or plastic.
Belt 318 is preferably adjustable in length. As such, the belt 318 may be formed by two separate straps connected by a buckle 334. Other mechanisms for lengthening and shortening the belt will be known to those of skill in the art, for example, a hook and loop fastener such as commonly sold under the trade name Velcro. The belt 318 acts as a flexible constraint element for restraining the back portion 316 from rotating beyond a desired angle with respect to the bottom portion 314. The belt 318 should be made from a thin, flexible material that is sufficiently strong to maintain the desired angle between the bottom portion 314 and the back portion 316 when a user sitting on the bottom portion 314 leans back against the back portion 316. The preferred material is a nylon belt, but other materials may be acceptable as well.
An attachment clamp 336 is used to fasten the seat cushion 310 to the bleacher 312. A patch 338 may be applied at the rear bottom of the back surface of the bottom portion 314 in order to protect and reinforce the covering 320 against contact with the attachment clamp 336. A loop 340 may be provided on the back surface of the bottom portion 314 in alignment with and above the attachment clamp 336. A zip tie 375 (see
The features of the attachment clamp 336 are best seen in
As best seen in
The back portion 316 and the bottom portion 314 are connected in a hinged or pivotal relationship. In the embodiment shown, a hinge 372 is formed by the covering 320. Specifically, as seen in
The hinge portion 372 of the embodiment shown includes a pair of openings 370 visible in
The back portion 316 includes a pair of riser portions 326 on opposite ends, as seen in the top view of
There are no cross members across the back portion 316. Instead, the entire structural support for the back portion 316 is provided by the riser portions 326, the pad 322, and flexible belts 318.
Attachment of the seat cushion 310 to the bleacher 312 is accomplished as follows. First, the seat cushion 310 is connected to the attachment clamp 336 by threading the front jaw 344 through the loop 366 in belt 364 on the bottom surface of the bottom portion 314. The front jaw 344 may then be placed in engagement with the bleacher 312 in the desired location with the front portion of the bleacher 312 retained by the front horizontal leg 358 and front vertical leg 356 of the front jaw 344. The long horizontal leg 354 should rest on the top surface of the bleacher 312 and should run generally from the front of the bleacher 312 to the rear of the bleacher 312 in a generally perpendicular alignment. The rear jaw 342 can then be secured to the front jaw 344 by inserting threaded fastener 346 though the rear jaw 342 into the threaded receiver 360 and then tightening the threaded fastener 346. A wrench may be used to provide additional leverage in tightening the threaded receiver 360. The bleacher 312 should be securely captured between the front jaw 344 and the rear jaw 342, thereby fastening the attachment clamp 336 to the bleacher 312. The seat cushion 310 is secured to the clamp 336 by virtue of loop 366 being retained by the long horizontal leg 354. To further secure the seat cushion 310 to the clamp 336, a zip tie, or similar attachment may threaded between loop 340 on the rear of the back portion 316 and the slot 362 near the top of the vertical leg 348 of the rear jaw 342.
The belts 318 can be adjusted to limit the distance the back portion 316 will pivot rearward. Typically a user will adjust the belts 318 so that the back portion 316 will not pivot much beyond a perpendicular orientation. When not in use, the belts 318 may be shortened to that the back portion 316 retained close to the bottom portion 314 in a closed storage position. In this closed storage position the back portion 316 covers and protects a portion of the bottom portion 314 from rain, dust, and sun exposure to improve the life of the bottom portion 314. The overall profile of the seat cushion 310 is also lowered in the closed storage position, to reduce the strain caused by wind.
When the seat cushion 310 is in place on the bleacher 312, it allows a user to sit more comfortably than on a plain bleacher 312. The bottom portion 314 provides cushioning and the back portion 316 provides support for the user's back. Because there are no hard cross members spanning across the back portion person's walking, sitting, or standing in the aisle behind the seat cushion 310 need not worry about banging their shin or other part of their leg on a hard cross-member.
The seat cushion 310 may be easily removed from the bleacher 312 for storage. It is contemplated that users may leave the seat cushion 310 in place on the bleacher 312 during an entire season, and then remove the seat cushion 310 during the off season. Of course, user's may choose to leave the seat cushion 310 attached more or less permanently, or may be removed after each event. To remove the seat cushion 310, the threaded fastener 346 is loosened, typically with a wrench, and the jaws 342 and 344 of the clamp 336 are spread apart and disengaged from the bleacher 312.
Although the present invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, persons skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.